With grueling road trips and tough injuries, the top NBA teams are constantly flip-flopping in the standings. Lately, the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks have taken control of their conferences after a good run. But that could all change next week due to the fickle nature of the NBA. This being said, our following power rankings take talent and potential into play just as much as the actual team records.
1. New York Knicks (14-4) – After dropping three out of four games towards the end of November, the Knicks are back on top following five straight wins. The latest victory was a 20-point blowout of the Heat in Miami. And remember that all of this is still happening without Amare Stoudemire.
2. Miami Heat (12-5) – As we just mentioned, Miami lost by 20 points to the Knicks. Plus they lost to league bottom-feeders Washington just a couple of nights earlier. Still, the Heat are the defending champions and we don’t see many scenarios where this could change by the end of the year.
3. San Antonio Spurs (15-4) – With a recent win over the Western Conference-leading Grizzlies, we like the Spurs a lot right now. Tim Duncan continues to pace San Antonio with his usual 18.8 PPG and 10.1 RPG.
4. Memphis Grizzlies (13-3) – It really looks like the Grizzlies are evolving into a title contender this year. Mike Conley Jr. continues to raise his game throughout the year since he’s now averaging 15.0 PPG and dishing out 6.3 APG. Zach Randolph is also playing excellent so far with 17.7 PPG and 13.3 RPG.
5. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-4) – One could argue that the Thunder should be higher; however, almost 20 games into the season, we have yet to see Oklahoma City beat a top-tier team. We’ll wait until future big-time matchups to see where the Thunder stand without James Harden.
6. L.A. Clippers (12-6) – Offseason additions like Lamar Odom and Grant Hill haven’t really panned out. However, every starter is averaging double digits and Chris Paul is doing an excellent job of distributing the ball (9.5 APG).
7. Brooklyn Nets (11-6) – The Nets had a five-game win streak snapped by the Heat and Thunder. And while we don’t think Brooklyn is quite ready to contend with these league superpowers, they are looking like a strong playoff team. Brook Lopez (18.5 PPG) is having another strong offensive campaign thanks to the passing contributions of Deron Williams (8.8 APG).
8. Atlanta Hawks (10-5) – Atlanta has replaced Joe Johnson’s scoring with a balanced effort that includes more contributions from Louis Williams (14.1 PPG), Jeff Teague (13.3 PPG) and Kyle Korver (10.8 PPG).
9. L.A. Lakers (9-10) – Based on talent alone, we’re still keeping the Lakers in our top 10. However, it may not be long before they drop out if this keeps up! Both Kobe Bryant (28.0 PPG) and Dwight Howard (18.5 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 2.84 BPG) have played as advertised. However, Pau Gasol (12.6 PPG) continues to struggle to find a place in this offense and has been involved in trade rumors.
10. Golden State Warriors (11-7) – For the first time this year, Golden State cracks our top 10 after getting off to a hot start. SG Klay Thompson (16.0 PPG) is looking much better in his second season while both Stephen Curry (19.1 PPG, 6.6 APG) and David Lee (17.6 PPG, 10.7 RPG) lead this team.